Shaquille O’Neal Wishes He Had Stayed With Lakers & Kobe Bryant For Rest Of Career
Andrew D. Bernstein-NBAE/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have entertained the NBA crowd with a number of superstar duos, the 2000-2003 three-peat squad led by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal among the most fabled ones.

The break-up of that fearsome pair puzzles fans of the franchise to this day. The 2004 NBA Finals loss to the Detroit Pistons threw L.A. into turmoil that led to then-head coach Phil Jackson’s departure and an apparent fallout between Bryant and O’Neal.

The center requested a trade in the offseason, ending up on the Miami Heat, where he would win another title in 2006.

“What would have happened had O’Neal stayed with the Lakers? will forever remain just a what-if question. The four-time NBA champion said on Showtime’s “All The Smoke” the circumstances of his departure haunt him to this day:

I got money, I had money. I just should have been like ‘All right, I raised you enough. It’s your team now.’ I know what I’m gonna do. I’m still gonna do my 28 [points] and 10 [rebounds]. But I was like, ‘Nah, I want 150 [million dollars]. If I had to do it all over again, probably would have had a meeting with the [Buss] family. ‘What y’all wanna do? Want me to take less money, take a lesser role, stay here or you still want me to be Shaq?’ See, it’s that ego. The ego still got me what I wanted. I still went to Miami, Pat [Riley] took care of me and I still won one. But I would’ve liked to have stayed there for the rest of my career.

Bryant did win a couple more NBA titles, back with Jackson as L.A.’s head coach, in 2009 and 2010, taking his ring count to five. But O’Neal said on the podcast he would have probably won seven championships with the Black Mamba by his side at Staples Center if he hadn’t left.

Vanessa Bryant launches Mambacita clothing line

Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, announced the launch of Mambacita clothing brand, honoring the memory of their daughter Gianna.

Hoodies and sweatpants with the nickname of the late Gigi imprinted on the front released on May 1, when she would have turned 15.

Vanessa rolled out the brand a couple of weeks after the Bryant empire split up from Nike, ending an almost 20-year partnership.

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!

You May Also Like

Kobe Bryant Told Byron Scott He Wants To Play Every Game In 2015-16 Season

Kobe Bryant’s future after the 2015-16 NBA season has been a hot…

NBA Rumors: Lakers & Heat Showing Trade Interest In Jazz’s Patrick Beverley

While a bulk of the Los Angeles Lakers’ offseason work is done, Rob Pelinka recently made it clear that the organization…

Lakers Select De’Andre Hunter With No. 4 Pick In 2019 NBA Draft For Hawks As Part Of Anthony Davis Trade

The Los Angeles Lakers have selected Virginia forward De’Andre Hunter with the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft…

Lakers News: Jordan Hill Missed Practice With Bone Bruise In Knee

On Sunday night against the Atlanta Hawks, Jordan Hill’s energy on the…